When Noah and I were on our honeymoon in Sayulita, Mexico, we had this daily salsa and margarita ritual. We spent most of our days surfing at nearby breaks, and would return to our little villa on the hill around happy hour. We would open the french doors onto the patio, put on some music, and come up with a salsa and a margarita almost every day. We played a lot of rummi and laptop scrabble during those very happy hours. Here's Noah trying to figure out how to get a triple letter score for his "Q" tile.
We love Mexico-- the food, the people, the lifestyle, the surfing--and everytime we go a big part of our vacation is gathering and cooking up local produce and seafood. We pull over at roadside produce stands, we scour side streets for the local tortillerias, we watch for the panga boats coming in with a loads of just-caught fish, and we run after pick up trucks full of fruits and vegetables, bumbling along in spanglish with the farmers, and learning the names for things like cucumber(pepino), oranges (naranjas), or onions (cebollas).
That was almost four years ago, but I think about our honeymoon often, and sometimes, like in the middle of another busy summer, I want to bring a piece of it to the here and now. So when the day is ending, and the lowering sun turns everything all golden, I put on some music, make a new salsa, and whip up a batch of margaritas.
Salsa Verde (makes 3 cups)
I was pretty excited to figure out a good recipe for Salsa Verde (or tomatillo salsa), after a couple of failed attempts. The secret is that you have to cook (boil, grill, or roast) the tomatillos to tame their bitterness.
1 lb. tomatillos, husks removed
3/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled, and roughly chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
2 green onions, roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (more to taste)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 jalapeno, roughly chopped, with seeds
2 teaspoons green tabasco sauce
1-2 limes, juice only (to taste)
Boil, roast, or grill the tomatillos until soft and olive green in color. Let cool. In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blitz to a salsa consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with tortilla chips.
Serving Suggestions: Add extra salsa to tortilla soup, use as an enchilada sauce, top eggs or breakfast burritos, or add to mashed avocado for a zippy guacamole.
Honeymoon Margaritas (makes 2 pint glass-sized margaritas)
juice of 2 oranges
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon sugar
4 oz. tequila
8 oz. sparkling water
In a medium pitcher combine fruit juices with sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add tequila, salt, and sparkling water. Salt rims of glasses if desired by running a lime wedge around the rim and then pressing into a small plate of kosher salt. Pour over rocks and serve.